Getting Your First Dog

Dec 04 , 2019

Getting Your First Dog

Have you been thinking of getting your first dog? Here's a few pointer that will help your new pup settle into its new home!

Don't feel like reading? Watch our YouTube video below and visit our YouTube channel for more where that came from!

Why Get A Dog?
Dogs make fantastic companions. Spending quality time with our dogs has been proven to lower blood pressure and stress levels. They also give us a reason to be more active and get more exercise. But let's not forget the reason dogs were domesticated in the first place - work! Dogs need jobs, and usually love to do what they were bred for. From herding to protection to rodent control and beyond, dogs are quite capable of earning their keep, even as a house pet.

What Breed Of Dog Is Right For Me?
Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, attitudes, and personalities. Many of these traits are consistent within a breed, and some are not! There are several "breed finder" online quizzes available. These can function as a great starting point. Focus less on the results of the quiz and more on the types of questions they ask. Think about what traits you want in a dog, how much grooming you're willing to do, and how much exercise you can do daily with your new pup. We recommend supporting reputable rescue groups. Whether all-breed or breed specific, an adoption group can help match you to just the right pup because they've had time to get to know them. Personality is much more important than breed, size, or color! Keep in mind that special needs dogs can make great pets, too.

Essential Supplies
We recommend starting off with these must-haves:
ID Tags!
Food and water bowls
Pee pads
Bed (though we suggest starting with old fleece blankets at first)
A few different types of toys

Dog-Proof Your House And Yard
Start with tidying up. Pick up anything that could get picked up and chewed on. Make sure not to leave food in reach. Use babygates wherever you need to block off rooms, such as a child's room, the kitchen, or even the front door as a safety measure. Make sure all chemicals, cleaners, insect baits, and other toxic substances are securely stored. Hide electrical wires where you can. Use a dog-proof trash can, or keep it behind a door that stays shut. To minimize any havoc while you are gone, crate your pup until you can trust him. Make sure everyone in the house knows to keep doors to the outside closed!

What To Do Upon Arrival
When you first bring your pup home, take a nice long walk. This introduces your pup to the neighborhood, shows him the lay of the land, orients him to his surroundings, and burns off a lot of the nervous energy dogs have when they first get to a new place. Try to have a matter-of-fact attitude when you bring your pup home. If you're overly timid or overly excited, it can be overwhelming for some dogs and contribute to nervousness.

Explore your yard first. Remember that age makes a difference! Younger dogs will go potty more often than older dogs and tend to have more energy. Give praise when they do their business in the right place - outside. Let them empty their bladders before taking them inside the house.

When it's time to go inside, explore one room at a time and do it on leash. It is suggested to limit the dog to one or two rooms for the first few days until he gets familiar with his new place and is reliably housebroken. Early potty accidents are more likely to repeat themselves if they go uncorrected. Introduce him to the crate right off the bat. Feed him there, offer treats, and put him to bed for naps in his crate. This way he gets used to it and understands that good things are associated with it.

The most important thing to do if you're bringing a shelter dog home is offer "decompression time." Keep everything calm, quiet, and orderly. Begin with a structured routine as soon as possible. Life should be a little bit boring for the first couple weeks to allow your new dog to decompress from the turmoil of a shelter environment.

Do you have any more tips for bringing home a new dog? We'd love to hear them!



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